Over 1000 Pacific families across New Zealand have received Covid-19 Packages of Support which, were funded by Pasifika Futures¾the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families. This has been the first week the packages have been made available for families, numbers of families receiving packages are expected to rise over the next four-weeks.

Lynda Misa-Tilivea and her family received grocery vouchers in her support package from The South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services Trust; one of the Whānau Ora Covid 19 Support Providers that are engaged with Pasifika Futures.

Misa-Tilivea said the grocery vouchers have given some relief to her and her partner who are both unable to work during the Covid-19 lock down and still need to support their six children and extended family.

“Not only do I look after my own immediate family, I also look after my parents and siblings as well as my grandparents so, the grocery vouchers will help all of us.”

“I’m a casual worker and my husband, he was on ACC for about five months because of an injury. This week would have been his first week back at work but, now we are in lockdown. That sucks big time,” said Misa-Tilivea.

“I had to buy school supplies for my children before the lockdown so, they could continue to learn from home and I’m still waiting for my employer to see if I’ll be paid, so the voucher’s will help us a lot.”

Chief Executive of The South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services Trust, Akarere Henry, said her team are still on the ground delivering packages to families but have so far been able to deliver Covid-19 Support Packages to approximately 64 families, since they began dropping them off at family door steps on Wednesday.

She said some families will receive a support package with a few other essentials as every families’ needs are different.

“We delivered some vouchers to a mum this week who worked at New World. She was expected to work throughout this week, but she has a daughter with cerebral palsy and auto immune deficiency. She left her job so she wouldn’t put her daughter at risk. Her job pay-out covered her bills over the next four-weeks but she was left with no money for food so, we were able to provide her with grocery vouchers as her daughter required certain foods.”

Henry said her team have not yet included financial support for rent or power in their support packages but, envisage it will likely become a part of the next assessment for packages as family bills will build up over the next four-weeks.

She admitted that it has been difficult getting all the essentials needed for the packages, but is humbled to be meeting the needs of our most vulnerable families.

“Going to the supermarkets for supplies has been horrendous. My team and I make a point to always be in uniform and have identification on us. We get filthy looks from others because we have to buy in bulk. I understand the community is concerned but, we are really trying to develop a thick skin, to not pay attention to people, and to get these packages out to families as fast as we can.”